Go Inside WDMCS Transportation’s Break Room Makeover (07/08/21)
July 8, 2021 | After a seven-month journey, the break room for the West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Transportation Department has been given a new life for employees to enjoy before, during, and after their shifts.
Thanks to a generous donation from Dave Egleston, who retired recently from WDMCS after 13 years as a bus driver, the popular spot for employees to relax and socialize throughout the day was rejuvenated with new wall paint, flooring, and furniture. Egleston will turn 77 years old in October, and said he makes a number of special donations each year as part of his individual retirement account (IRA)’s annual required minimum distribution.
For 2021, Egleston’s break room contribution was his largest donation, and he had just one goal in mind: Comfortability.
“I wanted it to be comfortable for the people who have to come a ways and can't go home for lunch or during the day,” he said. “I was sad for years that these people came all this distance and they didn't have any reprieve. And to stay with what we had was hard. I would have a hard time.”
Now, Egleston said, their break room “looks like a living room.”
“That is fantastic to me,” he said. “I didn’t want it institutional. This definitely does not look institutional.”
Transportation Director Robin Pickard said because of COVID-19, her employees were unable to have group meetings. Throughout the majority of the pandemic during the 2020-21 school year, their break room was empty and workers needed to socially distance themselves from others.
Once things slowly opened back up, the idea of a refurnished break room came into play.
“Everybody needed some common thread, something to look forward to,” Pickard said. “They're friends here. They come in early for their shift to play cards, they hang out late, they go out after work together. This year, that was basically gone. The excitement level now for everyone is heightened because not only do they get to come to their new break room, but they have all of this nice stuff to use. This is their outlet. This is a huge welcoming.”
Egleston added: “This was my social.”
As a way to say thank you, the WDMCS Transportation Department held an outdoor gathering near the end of this past school year to celebrate as a team and to also recognize Egleston’s generosity. He received numerous gifts, including a personalized bobblehead.
“I'm so tickled that they're happy. That's all I wanted,” Egleston said. “It was easy for me, and why not? I think it'd be criminal in my mind if I didn't do something. I'm just having fun.”
Pickard complimented Egleston’s kindness and selflessness.
“There's only one Dave,” she said, “and we have a break room full of people who love this job.”
Photo Gallery: Transportation Break Room Remodel